Quebec’s human right’s tribunal has won the right to ask the city to remove the crucifix from their assembly room, drop the prayers from the meetings and pay $30,000 in penalties. It’s asked that the money be given to those who brought up the concerns about prayer in the first place. The city hopes to fight this. More accurately, Mayor Jean Tremblay sees this as an attack on Francophones, known for their fierce upholding of Roman Catholic tradition.
“Where are we French-Canadians going with our values?” Tremblay asked during a fiery statement to reporters announcing the appeal bid Wednesday.
“Where will we French-Canadians be in 50 years?”
Wherever you find yourselves. What does this have to do with getting religion-specific prayers out of civil business that’s meant to apply to everyone, regardless of religion? It’s also possible to be French and Canadian without being religious.
Although the request for appeal hasn’t been filed yet, Tremblay says the city’s lawyers believe it stands a good chance.
It’s the latest salvo is the bubbling debate over identity in Quebec, which has seen one controversy after another about how much tolerance should be shown for other people’s religious views.
It looks like this particular issue had its start in 2006 when the city of Laval went through it and got prayer out. In 2008, when Saugenay’s prayers were initially challenged, Tremblay claimed that the 30 second prayer covered all religions so it couldn’t be a problem and keeping it was a gesture of respect.
And yet, people still saw fit to complain about it and the human right’s tribunal agreed with their concerns.
In his address to reporters, Tremblay confidently stated that in the entire history of the human race, there had never been a precedent for such persecution as that suffered by his administration.
“In the history of the world, and we verified this just for fun, this has never happened,” Tremblay said.
“Not even in antiquity, not even in the Middle Ages — a mayor punished for saying a prayer!”
If he was my mayor, I’d be embarrassed on his behalf. He sounds like a loon.
Our societies are far more multicultural now than any rinky-dink Middle Age village might have been, and the Church isn’t where the power ought to be coming from anymore. In order to make sure civic events include everyone, all vestiges of a religion should be left out of them. If they can treat the crucifix as a piece of historic art like a tapestry would be then it can remain in there as an ornamental accoutrement. If they can’t or won’t treat it like an art project and keep deferring to it like it matters to the proceedings when it doesn’t, then it should go. If they won’t let any other religion decorate the area, then why should Catholic crap still be allowed? And it doesn’t matter how all-inclusive Tremblay might claim the prayer is, it’s still religious mumbo-jumbo in a civic proceeding and deserves to be axed.
Tremblay bemoaned the hefty legal fees that an appeal could entail and said he would like to see them paid through donations rather than on the shoulders of taxpayers.
He stressed that he was not a religious “extremist,” but merely wanted to fight back against what he perceived to be an imbalance in Quebec society.
He wondered why the majority, francophone Catholics, have to leave their faith at home when minorities seem to enjoy so many rights.
“Here, it seems that reasonable accommodation is good provided it is not for Catholics,” he said, pointing out that 90 per cent of his fellow townsfolk are Catholics.
Wow dude. The “rights” he’s pissed about likely include the fact that baptized Sikhs get to carry ceremonial daggers and Muslim women often wear veils but Quebec recently banned the carrying of kirpans in legislative buildings. Says the CTV article about this:
Some legislators said the move was based on security concerns. Some said it was to preserve the national assembly’s secular character.
Yet the provincial legislature is allowed to keep its Catholic crucifix “because it reflects 400 years of history.”
Quebec also insists women have to have their faces uncovered if they want to be out doing whatever might constitute “public services.” Premier Jean Charest clarified that last October when they proposed the Bill in the first place:
Premier Jean Charest described Bill 94 in these terms: “Two words: Uncovered face. The principle is clear. The person providing a service and the person obtaining a service must have their face uncovered.” The government has since said that a “humanitarian” exception will be made in cases of medical emergency.
Bill 94, which has been generally well received by Quebec’s corporate media and political elite, was initially tabled last March following a trumped-up media furor over a Muslim woman who chose to wear the niqab while attending a government-sponsored French-language course for immigrants.
Minorities appear to be getting stripped of their rights left right and center over there, so what’s his beef? Why should Catholics have more rights than anyone else? This isn’t a theocracy. At least, it shouldn’t be.
Also, while the start of the article title claims the fundraising is to support the ruling’s appeal, the middle announces that on top of that, Tremblay is begging for donations to pay his current legal bills or else he’ll have to make his taxpayers do it, a move destined to make him pretty damned unpopular. According to the city’s site (Thanks Google Translator!) there won’t be any receipts for charitable donation given out either, so no tax breaks for the good Samaritans. No breaks for you.
I hope the appeals fall flat, myself.